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What Are Wetlands and Why Are They Important?
May is American Wetlands Month, and Louisiana happens to have many of them! These marshlands are areas of land that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and can be found in many different climates and ecosystems around the world. Wetlands are important because they provide a number of ecosystem services, including flood control, water purification, and habitat for wildlife and plants.
In Louisiana alone, wetlands cover roughly 2.5 million acres, making up about 40% of the total land area. The state’s wetland habitats include freshwater marshes, brackish marshes, coastal marshes, swamps, and bayous. So, if you’re a nature enthusiast and are wanting to celebrate American Wetlands Month, Louisiana might be the perfect destination for you!
How Do Wetlands Protect Against Storms and Flooding?
Louisiana is no stranger to hurricanes and floods, so the state has been working hard to restore its natural defenses. Wetlands act as a natural buffer against storms, absorbing excess water and slowing down the progression of a storm surge. A single acre of marshland can retain between 1 – 1.5 million gallons of floodwater, making it an essential part of Louisiana’s flood control efforts. In addition to providing protection from poor weather, wetlands also support wildlife and provide recreational opportunities for people.
Louisiana alone has made great progress in restoring its wetlands, but there is still more work to be done. The state is committed to re-establishing its natural defenses and protecting its citizens from the dangers of its atmospheric conditions. Beginning in 2007, the state rebuilt around 76 square miles of these lowlands.
Thankfully, Pearl River Swamp Tours in New Orleans offers visitors a chance to view some of the restoration efforts made around the city and to see how they’ll prevent further damage from bad weather conditions.
What Kind of Wildlife and Plants Can Be Found in Wetlands?
Wetlands provide critical habitat for a variety of fish, animals, vertebrates, and plants. Many species of fish and crustaceans, including crawfish and blue crabs, spawn and rear their young in these marshes. Additional wildlife such as Green Herons, Pelicans, storks, and other types of birds use wetlands for nesting, roosting, and feeding.
The marshlands also support a variety of plants, such as Spanish moss and spider lilies, that are important for soil stabilization and water purification. Altogether, this incredible biodiversity offers unique and beautiful scenery for anyone that is interested in exploring these marshes. Going on a Honey Island swamp boat tour to get a first-hand experience is a great way to see it all!
Overall, Wetlands play a vital role in our environment by protecting the city from bad weather; and organizations such as Cajun Encounters and Pearl River Swamp Tours are proud to support the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF), a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect, restore, and conserve Louisiana’s natural resources.
Reserving your spot with Pearl River Swamp Tours for an incredible Pearl River tour not only allows you to donate to the Foundation, but you’ll also be supporting a Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation Partner. Our dedicated tour guides will take you through New Orleans marshes and show you how the Foundation helped the State overcome hurricanes and many kinds of inclement weather. So, if you’re looking for a place to celebrate American Wetlands Month, Louisiana is the perfect destination!